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Warhammer Age of Sigmar- Army Building Strategy!

Updated on November 6, 2015

How to build an Age of Sigmar army

With the new release of Games Workshop's Warhammer Age of Sigmar there is much speculation about how to build a fantasy Warhammer army! The rules state that you can field any number of models and that is your initial and starting force.

This clearly has created much confusion, firstly "how do we have battles that are evenly matched?" Most war games have rules that allow both armies to field even forces (points generally).

However if we look to real historical battles, many generals have faced superior forces and have won the battle. This can often be attributed to good tactics, luck or even clever use of terrain on the battlefield.

So with out further ado let us explore how to build a Warhammer Age of Sigmar army with great synergy, enabling you to gain an edge, even before the battle starts.

Age of Sigmar - Like Historical Battles


3 factors to consider when building a Warhammer fantasy army!

Below is a list of 3 factors you must consider before you think about the synergy within your fantasy Warhammer army.

  • Existing Army: Do you currently own an army? (from previous editions of Warhammer) or will you purchase a new army?
  • If you are looking to purchase a new Age of Sigmar army consider which models you like the look of ( must be part painted to play in Games Workshop)
  • Do you want to play a specific style of warfare. Do you want to hit and run, engage with the most powerful monsters and creatures, stay back and rain arrows on them or do you plan to have hundreds of weak creatures swarming them? When choosing your initial forces it is advisable to consider these factors.

What is synergy?

Ok what is synergy? by definition it is the "interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects".

For us Warhammer players this means if your unit of Aelfs ( elves) gain a bouns or buffs by having a specific treeman (and vise versa) then the synergy between both units will ultimately make both units more powerful.

Any army that highly focuses on the synergy between each unit and its heroes will be considerably more powerful. Could you field an army of 15 models against 100 or more?

Age Of Sigmar like Magic The Gathering

How can a wargame be like a card game? I believe Games Workshop have tried to make army composition like that of building a Magic The Gathering deck! MTG has a similar set of rules for building a deck.

Magic the Gathering Rules ( nut shell format)

  • Your deck must have 60 or more cards.(once gone game over)
  • No more that 4 of a specific card ( not land)
  • Start with 20 wounds ( once gone game over)
  • Turn sequence and Stacking rules ( similar to Initiative in Age of Sigmar)

MTG Like New Fantasy Warhammer


Build your Warhammer army around sudden death victories

To start with we must understand the importance of sudden death victory conditions.The rules state that if 1 army is out numbered by a 1/3 more models or figures they may choose a sudden death victory condition.

The four Age of Sigmar victory conditions include:

  1. Assassinate - Enemy chooses a hero, monster etc you then have to kill that model.
  2. Blunt - Enemy chooses a unit, destroy that unit.
  3. Endure - Survive for 6 turns.
  4. Capture an enemy terrain feature.

How you choose your army is critical to how you win the battle! With this in mind it is much easier to build a Warhammer age of Sigmar fantasy army.

Synergy often means taking a specific unit/hero/support unit. So to build an army that is going to achieve 1 of these conditions requires that the army is highly focused on achieving that victory condition.

For example say you build your army around capturing a terrain feature. It is pointless taking a hard hitting, slow moving unit, if they're never going to get that far across the battlefield. Additionally if that super hard hitting unit adds no benefits to other units and gains none either it is not gaining synergy. A much better choice would be a medium speed unit who offered bonuses to other units in your army. The weaker unit may have less saves, attacks etc but the bonus they provide to other units could change the out come on the battle field.

Aim for 60 wounds total

60 wounds, where did that come from? Well many competitive players have stated that 60, 100 or 125 wounds is a good army balancing factor. But for me it more important than that. 60 wounds allow you to really focus on your objective (I recently fielded only 12 models totaling 60 wounds)

I had built my army around the victory condition of enduring. My plan was simple, 2 heroes (both spell casters) and both had good saves (4 +) and damage avoidance abilities. The units had multiple wounds, heavy armored and fast moving. My aim was to hit and run with hard hitting troops, hoping not stay in combat for more than 1 turn at a time.

All units were the same race so both spell casters could benefit them with spells that increased each units saves and increased the damage out put. My opponent had fielded a large Elves army. He had a mixture of missile troops, basic troops and shock monsters and units.

For more about Age of Sigmar Tactics click here

Age of Sigmar - Abilities to choose when building an army

Sudden Death Victory Condition
Positive Army Attributes/Abilities
Example of Positive Army Attributes
Units with special deployment rules
Deploy close and charge 1st turn
Ability to move across enemy (fly)
Avoid enemies to close on primary target
Ability to cause mortal wounds
Direct damage on target
Capability to reduce armour saves
Good rend capability/ability to avoid saves
Ability to cause multiple wounds
Hit them once and cause multiple damage
Blunt (destroy unit)
Abilities that effect battle shock
Reducing bravery trait , targeted fire, attacks.
Abilities that effect multiple targets
Unit/area effect abilities
Ability to cause mortal wounds
Direct damage on target
Capability to reduce armour saves
Good rend capability
Ability to cause multiple wounds
Hit them once and cause multiple damage
Endure (survive)
Good saves
Ethereal ignore rend ability
Ability to mitigate damage
Redirect/ bounce damage to other targets
Multiple wounds
Unit should be able to survive longer
Missile/magic superiority
Control of a specific battle round.
Capture terrain feature
Fast moving
Capture strategic points on the battlefield
Ability to hold/stand charges
Units must be able to hold ground.
Special deployment rules
Deploy close and capture first turn
Abilities with long range
Whittle down enemy before they engage
Abilities to slow/hinder enemy moves
Reduce ability to close on target.


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